Skip to main content

Proposals to remove fourteen legislative measures

Shipbuilding and ship-repairing Regulations

Shipbuilding and Ship-Repairing Regulations 1960 (S.I. 1960/1932)


5.15 The Shipbuilding and Ship-Repairing Regulations (SSRR) 1960 are designed for the safety, health and welfare of people employed in the construction and repair of ships and vessels in a yard or dry dock and in the construction and repair of ships (but not of vessels other than ships) in a harbour or wet dock.

5.16 These Regulations revoked the Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing Regulations 1932 and were intended to constitute a comprehensive code of safety provisions for the shipbuilding and ship repair industry.

Rationale for revocation

5.17 The majority of these Regulations have been revoked, and much that remains is covered by more recent goal setting legislation including the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR); Confined Spaces Regulations 1997; Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER); Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER); Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR) and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002.

5.18 HSE believes that these Regulations can be revoked without reducing health and safety protections15. The following table sets out the substantive duties that remain and identifies the more up to date Regulations that have replaced these legal duties. In particular HSE has carefully considered the implications for revoking the remaining duties and further information on these areas is set out below.

15These Regulations have been cited on 14 Notices issued in the previous 13 years, but have not been cited in any approved prosecution activity in the same period. Of these notices 10 related to the same visit and cited regulations subsequently revoked. A further 3 notices cited regulations subsequently revoked. Only 1 notice (issued in 2002) cited a current regulation, namely regulation 6 “Safe Access”. The circumstances under which this notice was issued are not now known.

5.19 The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (WHSWR) are, by virtue of regulation 3(1) (a), disapplied to a “workplace which is or is in or on a ship within the meaning assigned to that word by regulation 2(1) of the Docks Regulations 1988”. The extent to which these Regulations may apply will depend on the point at which a ship being built becomes a ship. If the proposal is approved HSE will explore how to use the revoking Statutory Instrument to amend the WHSWR 1992 so that comparable duties under them will apply to a “workplace which is or is in or on a ship” to cover any gaps created by the revocation of SSRR (as highlighted in the following paragraphs).

5.20 Regulation 6 safe access in general - can be generally covered by HSWA and for fire emergencies by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in relation to England and Wales and The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. HSE will explore how to amend the WHSWR so that comparable duties under them will apply.

5.21 Regulation 11 vessels used for access or as a working place – can be covered by sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA). However, PUWER 98 will apply to most mobile offshore installations while at or near their work stations and when in transit to their working stations. PUWER would also apply to boats, scows and floating platforms used for the purpose of shipbuilding or repair. Overcrowding of such equipment would be covered by the MHSWR not PUWER 98.

5.22 Regulation 69 lighting - Many aspects of this regulation are now redundant as they refer to work practices that are no longer used. There may be issues where on the rare occasion the ship owner remains in control of repair work in a shipyard as currently the requirement to provide lighting remains with the ship owner under the SSRR, but there would not be an issue where the shipyard is responsible. HSE will explore how to amend the WHSWR so that comparable duties under them will apply.

5.23 Regulation 70 (work in boilers) - specifically prohibits work in any boiler, boiler furnace or boiler flue until it has been sufficiently cooled to make work safe for the persons employed. The more recent MHSWR require an employer to do a risk assessment (reg 3) and the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 states that, so far as is reasonably practicable, no person at work shall enter or carry out any work in a confined space otherwise than in accordance with a system of work which, in relation to any relevant “specified risks”, renders that work safe and without risks to health. Furthermore the ACoP, Regulations and guidance to the Confined Spaces Regulations (Safe Work in Confined Spaces) contains guidance in relation to boilers16.

16Presence of excessive heat. This can lead to a dangerous rise in core body temperature and can be made worse as a result of personal protective equipment being worn. In extreme cases heat stroke and unconsciousness can result. A slower heat build-up in the body can cause heat stress, and if action is not taken to cool the body there is also a risk of heat stroke and unconsciousness. This can occur where work in hot conditions is being undertaken in a confined space or where, for example, boilers or furnaces have not been allowed sufficient time to cool before people are allowed to enter to undertake maintenance work, or where equipment has been steam cleaned to remove hydrocarbons.

5.24 Regulation 80 prohibits a young person from some activities until they have been employed in a shipyard for at least six months. HSE believes that this prescriptive requirement has been superseded by obligations (for young workers under 18) under the MHSWR. Under MHSWR issues such as whether a young person has an appreciation of the accident risks or is psychologically mature enough for the work have to be specifically addressed through the risk assessment process.

5.25 Regulation 81 requires every shipyard where there are in excess of 500 employed to employ someone with relevant experience to supervise the observance of these regulations and to promote safe work generally. The revocation of the remaining regulations would render this requirement obsolete and the general requirements under MHSWR (regs 5 and 7) would extend to the general duties under this regulation in any event. Current industry practice is consistent with the requirements of MHSWR rather than the SSRR.

5.26 Publicising change HSE will update its web pages to signpost duty holders to other relevant guidance that provides details of how to comply with the more recent goal setting (i.e. less prescriptive) legislation.